CISLAW Graduation Coach
Venice High School
Gabriela Morales was raised mainly in Culver City, CA. She is the youngest of three and was raised in a single-parent household. Gabriela dived into her studies and helping her community. Even as a sixth grader she began volunteering at her old elementary school, Stoner Avenue Elementary, helping third graders read better.
While at Venice High School Gabriela attended a mentor/ tutoring group, Xinachtli, which helped her develop leadership skills and became involved with MEChA. She continued to tutor elementary school students with their homework, while balancing her academics, sports, and organizational involvement. She then left for college to Santa Cruz.
At University of California Santa Cruz (CCSC), Gabriela majored in Psychology and realized the passion she had for working with marginalized youth. It was while working at a residential treatment facility in New Hampshire that she realized the constraints and emotional disturbances that occur in children living in harsh conditions. It was there that Gabriela found motivation to return to her community and reach out to students who like her grew up with adverse environments.
After graduating from UCSC, Gabriela stayed in Santa Cruz and worked with the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center working with alternative schools as a mental health counselor. She tried to instill important life lessons and pride in their culture to provide self-empowerment. After leaving Santa Cruz, Gabriela returned to Los Angeles to begin her Masters in Social Work (MSW) at the University of Southern California (USC). During this current school year, Gabriela has been the Graduation Coach at Venice High School for Communities in Schools Los Angeles West. She is excited to return to her alma mater. She has helped students stay in school and graduate with a high school diploma.